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No Sweatless Solutions

Recently I finished my first competitive, timed, run. I finished with a PB (personal best) and a fairly respectable time for me of an hour and three minutes for 13km. Looking back at my training leading up for this and my improvements from where I started (about 20 minutes per km) to now (under 5min per km) got me thinking about a lot the different training plans I’ve seen and how they’re “sold”.

I’ve seen a pile of different distance running plans that are pitched with some variation of “get great results without running often” or “get great results without running far”. Obviously these are in direct contrast to a lot of the advice I’ve read, and personally received, from great endurance athletes which essentially boils down to “do more” and “do as much as you can without anything bad happening to you”.

Not hard to see which of these have a bit more sales appeal, huh?

But what about results appeal?

Sure, I’m willing to accept that there might be more efficient ways to get results than just hammering as much work as possible BUT I’m only willing to accept those options AFTER someone has experimented with doing a lot, with working hard and with building the determination, discipline and toughness of trying their ass off.

Too often we look for the “sweatless solution”, we look for the hidden secret or hack that’s going to crank our speed up to 100 miles per hour without us needing to push the pedal a bit harder or burn through our gas tank a bit quicker.

This, I believe, is a trap.

If I had to improve my 13km race time in the next month or I was going to be shot - do you think I’d run less? Of course not. The appeal of the easy way will always be there but so will be the guarantee of the hard way and for me, the sure thing is always a better way to go.

In closing, don’t be afraid of the hard work and don’t be distracted by the shiny, neatly packaged easy way. There’s a time for optimization, working smarter not harder and for squeezing everything you can out of every bit of effort - just save that for when you’ve exhausted the full frontal assault on your goals!

Craig Bongelli